However, I suspect this is primarily because many acupuncturists find this style to be confusing and difficult both intellectually and physically. One cannot learn a whole system of acupuncture from one or two article, nor from one or two seminars. The purpose of this article is to introduce the reader to some of the most common abdominal findings and their treatment. I have been teaching this style for the past 5 years, and those attending always attest to the effectiveness of these treatments.

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However, I suspect this is primarily because many acupuncturists find this style to be confusing and difficult both intellectually and physically. One cannot learn a whole system of acupuncture from one or two article, nor from one or two seminars. The purpose of this article is to introduce the reader to some of the most common abdominal findings and their treatment. I have been teaching this style for the past 5 years, and those attending always attest to the effectiveness of these treatments.

As beginners, they will often say they still use TCM or other methods e. The basics of abdominal diagnosis are the same as for pulse diagnosis: anything you find or feel has significance.

When a baby is born, if they are totally healthy and assuming a clean karma the pulse should be smooth, without glitches, reflecting nothing but a clean slate upon which life will imprint its experiences. The newborn baby would likewise have a smooth abdomen, a Buddha belly, so to speak. As life goes on, experiences are accumulated, pathologies settle in, patterns are being created, all of which will imprint their signature on the cellular memory of the body and can be reflected in various places.

It is the nature of Chinese medicine that it recognises that the microcosm reflects the macrocosm. Thus, the pulse reflects the whole body, as do the palms, feet, and, of course, the abdomen. It is the ability to attune ourselves to a particular modality of diagnosis, perhaps to combine more than one tool, that makes us good at what we do.

The reality of pulse taking is that it is an extremely subtle art. Most practitioners can read gross qualities, such as wiry, slippery, strong, weak, etc. Abdominal diagnosis, on the other hand, is easier. Here the patient can give you feedback. The problem in using this form of diagnosis is that the patient is fully aware of the process: they can tell when the abdomen is getting better and the pressure pain disappears.

Unlike pulse diagnosis, the practitioner has no information that the client does not. I use 3 fingers, the index, middle, and ring fingers all together. This gives the patient a more comfortable feel when I press. Never press the abdomen with the thumb, this can feel very violating and violent to the patient. By using 3 fingers, I minimise the discomfort felt. However, my attention is at the tip of my middle finger: this is where most of the pressure is focused, and this is also my sensing finger it is possible to do this with any other finger, it is a matter of individual preference.

I tend to first touch the area to be pressed and then move in. At first you may want to move your fingers from side to side as if making space: this will ensure that you are not moving in too fast. As you gain more experience you will learn the pace that is comfortable to the patient. Any one area in the abdomen can reflect more than one pathology.

For example, the area around the navel reflects the Spleen Nan Ching , but the points just below Kid16 reflect the Adrenals. Furthermore, in physical kidney disease e. It is possible that the patient be only Spleen deficient with allergies, and have no kidney or adrenal involvement, thus the area around the navel will show. Another example is pressure pain on Ren9. This can reflect S. Which of these problems the pressure pain on Ren9 reflects can only be ascertained when we try to treat it: if the water treatment works, it was a reflection of water, if digestion points release Ren9, it must be that Ren9 reflected digestion, etc.

Once we have identified the various abdominal areas that show pressure pain, we interpret them, taking the whole picture into consideration. Our treatment goal is to eliminate all pressure pain on the abdomen, the neck, throat, and back.

Once this happens, the symptoms the patient is complaining about tend to subside. We can then further work more symptomatically on specific complaints once the abdomen has been cleared. Here is how this works. Suppose we found pressure pain on left ST27 area. We call this Oketsu see below , and normally treat this with Liv4 and LU5 both on the left.

We let go of the pressure on left ST27 and ask the patient to remember what it felt like. We press on left Liv4 upwards in the direction of the channel , and then press again on left ST27, while still holding on with pressure on Liv4.

If the pressure pain on left ST27 is improved, we found the correct Liv4, if not, we look for a slightly better location. Finding the exact location for a point has absolutely nothing to do with its description in the book. It also has little to do with how painful the point is. All that really matters is that the point selected and the angle of pressure does indeed alleviate the pressure pain on the reflex. Obviously one chooses the latter. When you press on a reflex point, you need to remember at what depth and angle the pain was elicited and what it feels like to your fingers.

It helps to have an image of the tissue under your fingers. Once you press on the remote treatment point, you need to reproduce the same location, angle, depth, and pressure, at the reflex point and make sure it has been cleared. I recommend that you leave your hand just touching the skin at the reflex point and that with your other hand palpate and press the treatment point. Once you are pressing the treatment point, re-apply the pressure on the reflex area.

This way there is no argument about the location. It is common for the novice patient to claim that you are not pressing as hard or that you are pressing on a different spot. The changes are truly dramatic when pressure pain disappears, and thus you want to be sure you got the correct reflex area.

Although I cannot elucidate all abdominal findings, the following 4 treatment ideas should prove to be a great start. These are the most common findings and most commonly used points in the Matsumoto style. The most common finding is called Oketsu.

Oketsu means non-physiological, sluggish, dirty, piled-up blood. It can be translated as Stagnant Blood, however, this connotes the TCM understanding of a pathology resolved by herbs such as Hong Hua and Tao Ren, which is not our understanding. We understand Oketsu to be an impingement of microcirculation this is very similar to modern Chinese emphasis on blood vitalizers to improve microcirculation to counter the effects of aging. This can be due to a fever, infection, repeated trauma, operations or bruises, etc.

Be aware that this is an area, not a matter of exact point location. This is originally Liver reflex according to the Nan Jing. While it is true that Oketsu will show in Liver disorders hepatitis, cancer, etc. We diagnose Liver on right Liv14 and below on the right subcostal line. If you find Oketsu, you must clear it. There is no point in treating other issues if microcirculation is sluggish. After all, if Qi and Blood are not moving well, it makes it harder to address other issues. Once Oketsu is cleared, many other abdominal findings will improve, or even clear up, without adding other needles.

The standard treatment of Oketsu is left Liv4 with left LU5. We needle it at a 10o o upwards with the meridian flow, with mm of the needle. Obviously when we press on the point to test it, we press it in the same direction toward the ankle bone. We needle it superficially towards the thumb that is with the flow. We then recheck the Oketsu reflex area left ST27 area and ascertain that the Oketsu is indeed cleared. If there is a little bit left, tiny manipulation of LU5, just moving the needle up and down in a shaking-like fashion, will probably clear the rest.

The patient need not feel anything. We are not after a Qi sensation, but after breaking down gummy connective tissue which will communicate to other tissue the effect of the stimulation. I use Seirin 2 needles: they are very fine but not too much so. Sometimes you feel a hard lump feeling at the Oketsu area.

We call this Oketsu Kai Oketsu Lump. This is often because of blocked circulation at the inguinal joint. After you tested and needled Liv4 and LU5, palpate the left inguinal ligament. This is the area between G. Press this area toward the left leg that is laterally and downwards. Find the ropy area and press it. Now test the Oketsu reflex area, and it should improve. Needle into the ropy area that helps release Oketsu the most. The area of the left inguinal groove inner thigh — around left Liv12 might also be blocked and obstruct the clearing of Oketsu.

Press this area up toward the pubic bone this is also the direction of the needle. Both the inguinal ligament and the inguinal groove are needled shallowly, you need only tap the needle in. Note that if there is a lot of pain on either the inguinal ligament or inguinal groove, we would treat those areas as reflexes first and release that pressure pain, prior to needling them.

The treatment of Oketsu is absolutely essential and must come before any other treatment as it not only clears other abdominal findings it also clears the way for other treatments. Be aware that Oketsu can be complicated by other syndromes, primarily Immune and poor circulation, and might not fully clear until those elements are addressed.

I will discuss the Immune points below. There are two main circulation problems, the first is lack of blood flow, which we consider to be a Spleen problem. The other circulatory problem is related to the autonomic nervous system and blood pressure. This tends to show as a tight pulse a tight pulse by Nagano is what TCM practitioners might call wiry, thin, and superficial, and which looses this quality when pressed deeply , especially if rapid.

The subject of treating ANS is rather complicated and is beyond the scope of this article.


Kiiko Matsumoto Style Acupuncture and the Lower Extremity

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